Saturday, June 15, 2013

Leading from Behind

President Obama is afraid to lead. While speaking to a gay pride event in the White House, deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes told reporters that Syria's Assad regime crossed the "red-line" with the use of chemical weapons in that country's civil war. My guess is that the red line was crossed sometime ago and the President was unwilling to acknowledge it. It took the deteriorating military situation to get the President off the dime. The next day Rhodes defended the administration's position to provide lethal aid to Syria's rebels,  all the while President Obama was hosting a Father's Day luncheon. All of this was on the front page of today's New York Times. This is not how a President goes to war!

From Egypt to Iran the whole Middle East is in turmoil and our President acted as if nothing were going on. Former Hillary Clinton aide, Anna-Marie Slaughter noted in the same article, "I really worry this is going to be remembered as the United States standing by and watching a Middle East war ignite." Knock Knock we are in a proxy war with Iran in Syria. That fact was emphasized with the critical support Hezbollah, Iran's ally in the region, gave to the Assad forces in the battle of Qusayr. Those forces are now on the march to the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, Syria largest city with a population of three million. With over 90,000 dead the slaughter is only beginning.

The stakes in Syria are enormous. Seventy-five years ago there was another proxy war, in Spain. There a civil war between the loyalists and Franco-led rebels brought in Russia along with its security apparatus on the side of the loyalists and Germany and Italy on the side of their fascist ally. It was a dress rehearsal for World War II. Britain and France stood idly by, sending the very clear message to Hitler that they were unwilling to fight. Unfortunately Obama is sending the same message to Iran and it nuclear ambitions. I hope we are not too late.

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